Herbert Jones' "Blue-Collar" Mindset on Display In Win Over No. 25 LSU
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — His impact on the University of Alabama men's basketball team can not be adequately measured.
Herbert Jones embodies whatever the "it factor" is.
Wearing a soft protective cast on his left wrist for the second game in a row, the junior forward/guard grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds, swatted two shots, took two charges, and recorded one steal in the Crimson Tide's 88-82 win over No.25 LSU on Saturday.
On offense, he poured in six points and dished out three assists.
"I go out every night with the mindset to help my team anyway possible," Jones said. "I knew that I was going to be short-handed on the offensive end, I just knew I had to impact the game another way."
Most notably, the Moundville, Ala. product made two one-handed foul shots with 1:39 on the clock, that played a crucial role in securing the Crimson Tide's victory.
One would be hard pressed to find a louder arena in the nation when Jones sinked those two shots from the charity stripe.
"Best crowd I have heard since I have been here," Oats said. "It hit a fever pitch after Herb stepped to the free throw line after they internally fouled him, knowing he did not have his strong hand. He steps up with his weak hand and goes two for two.
"That was unreal. The crowd noise when that happened, I think that was a recognition of the fact that he is such a warrior."
Since Jones broke his left wrist on Jan. 29 against these same Tigers in Baton Rouge, he's been putting work in the gym on right-handed free throws and said that his confidence hasn't wavered once at the charity stripe.
"The day I got back after being injured," Jones said. "I had been putting in as many hours I could on my right-handed free throws. I just kept working and believed in myself."
In only his second game back to action for the Crimson Tide, Jones won the team's "Blue Collar Hard Hat" award, given to the player who had the most hustle points.
Afterwards, Oats was asked if he had ever seen a "blue-collar" performance like that in his young coaching career and, without hesitation, he said no.
"No, I think he [Jones] ended up with 35 points, that is ridiculous," Oats said. "And he did it with one hand. Literally, I am getting chills now. I was getting chills when the crowd went nuts when he went 2-of-2 at the line. I think our fans know what a warrior this kid [Jones] is. They know all he cares about is winning. He is a winner and even though he only has one arm, it is great to have him back."